Virginia Medicaid expansion in doubt as state senator quits

RICHMOND Va. Mon Jun 9, 2014 8:02pm EDT

Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia makes remarks during a ''Growth and Jobs in America'' discussion at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, February 23, 2014.   REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia makes remarks during a ''Growth and Jobs in America'' discussion at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, February 23, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Theiler

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RICHMOND Va. (Reuters) - Governor Terry McAuliffe’s bid to expand Medicaid in Virginia was dealt a blow on Monday by a Democratic lawmaker's resignation that may have been propelled by Republican maneuvering.

The resignation of state Senator Phillip Puckett gives Republicans a one-vote majority in the chamber. McAuliffe, a Democrat, had hoped the Senate would support a widening of Medicaid to 400,000 Virginians under the federal Affordable Care Act, a proposal Republicans oppose.

Medicaid expansion has led to a standoff between McAuliffe and lawmakers over the state budget. It must be approved by the end of the month to avoid a possible government shutdown on July 1.

Puckett, from southwest Virginia, said on Monday evening saying he had resigned "due to the recent issues that have developed in our family," which he declined to outline, according to a statement posted on the Washington Post website.

He also said his resignation would open the door for the Senate to confirm his daughter to a full six-year term as a judge. She had been serving on a temporary appointment.

The Virginia House of Delegates, the state's lower chamber, confirmed Puckett's daughter this year for a full term. But the Senate refused, citing a policy against appointing the relatives of a sitting legislator to a judgeship.

But Puckett denied a report, published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper, that he may be offered a high-ranking job on the state's Republican-controlled Tobacco Commission. Commission Chairman Terry Kilgore told the newspaper that he was interested in offering Puckett a job.

However, The Washington Post, citing sources, reported on Monday that Puckett was withdrawing his name from consideration for a job with the Tobacco Commission.

Puckett’s resignation gives Republicans a 20-19 Senate majority and perhaps a wall against expansion of Medicaid, the federal healthcare program for the poor.

But three Republican senators are willing to expand healthcare coverage, perhaps through a private marketplace. The House of Delegates has opposed Medicaid expansion.

McAuliffe said in a statement that he would continue to work with the Senate on a budget that would help widen healthcare coverage.

Stephen Farnsworth, a political analyst with the University of Mary Washington, called the resignation a smart move by Republicans and by Puckett.

“Medicaid expansion is not dead,” he said, “but it was rushed to the emergency room today."

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; additional reporting by Edith Honan)

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Comments (8)
HenryMiller wrote:
“McAuliffe said in a statement that he would continue to work with the Senate on a budget that would help widen healthcare coverage.”

You mean a deal that would further screw Virginia taxpayers by forcing them to pay the medical bills of bums who won’t pay their own bills?

Jun 10, 2014 8:47am EDT  --  Report as abuse
gilliardc wrote:
This Puckett guy sounds like a real scum ball. Now all that needs to happen is for his daughter to be denied the judgeship since her job is more important to her father than getting 400,000 Virginians healthcare. He should become a pariah in VA from now on.

Jun 10, 2014 10:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
SJmithB wrote:
State and local police are implanting innocent citizens with a biochip and billing Medicaid for it illegally without citizens qualification or permission. A Note on Uberveillance by MG & Katina Michael describe it as “big brother on the inside looking out”. They are imprinting the brain of citizens calling it the “brain initiative”. At first you hear a lot of clicking noises. They use LRAD aka active denial system which has technology like the audio spotlight. Then they can interpret your thoughts and send inaudible voices to your brain. Crisis stabilization is the RICO they use to defame and disarm the public. Police use this technology to make your limbs jump, put you in seizures, and sleep deprive you. I had a heart attack. I called an ambulance and the police wouldn’t let them in. Riverside Hospital watched me have a heart attack. A 44 year old died of a heart attack in court with a CSB agent standing beside him. They give you potassium to get your confused. If you don’t act out they can’t arrest you and “get you so confused you’ll confess to anything”. Terrorism and Mental Health by Amin Gadit states that they boast being able to create suicide victims and mass murderers. Rutherford Institute uncovered a project to target veterans to defame them and disarm them while defending Brandon Raub. In Virginia, they have murdered and destroyed more lives than Al Queda on 9/11. Judge Arenda Allen denied my motion for a cessation of torture. We need to hold these judges accountable as accessories to torture! When more people understand what is going on, they will stand up to police. Use the legal system and call your senators. Know your rights. Get an attorney if a CSB Agent comes near you. If you were implanted, sue the doctor for medical battery. Sue the CSB for violating your rights. You don’t have to talk to them. If they gave your Risperdal, you may have seizures at any time for the rest of your life. Make sure they didn’t set up a Medicaid number. When Obamacare needs funding, the state police will charge you with fraud. This biochip causes cancer according to the Bio Initiative Report 2012. Start a website and initiate a class action lawsuit. Coalition for Justice/Allen vs City of Hampton settled a suit outside of court for $500,000 for implanting a member. “Crisis stabilization” is a RICO. If there are cameras in the room it is a human rights violation. Torture is punishable by $1,000 per day up to $2million per person and 30 years to life. The active denial system is a radiation emitting device. The brain initiative requires informed knowledgeable consent. You are entitled to restitution for all medical, insurance increases, change in financial position, defamation of character, loss of privacy, and punitive damages! Don’t be violent or you’re the same. Sue! Forced implantation is a violation of state statute in Virginia as well as federal statute!

Jun 10, 2014 11:29am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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